Posted on April 05, 2015

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research & Development (QF R&D), has announced its support for eight late-stage research projects.

As recipients of the Qatar Innovation Promotional Award, each project will benefit from a rigorous three-month programme at QSTP, offering researchers and entrepreneurs access to the park’s world-class resources and commercialisation expertise. The teams will emerge from the programme with a carefully crafted, competitive business strategy and the option of creating a venture as a small medium enterprise tenant on QSTP’s campus, pursuing funding, or developing the business independently.

QSTP supports Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development’s (QF) unique cycle of education, research and commercialisation, helping deliver economic diversification and innovative home-grown technology that will benefit the country and the rest of the world. The eight selected projects span the ICT, health care, energy and environmental technology sectors, in line with the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS) within the Qatar National Vision 2030 and QSTP’s overall approach to technology development.

In the healthcare sector, two projects have been awarded QSTP support: Biomolecular Genetic Markers and Biomedical Engineering Innovation. Biomolecular Genetic Markers is developing a diagnostic kit that can identify gene mutations associated with Essential Thrombocythemia – a blood disorder, and Primary Myelofibrosis - a serious bone marrow disorder. The technology enhances the accuracy with which the two mutations can be spotted. The technology’s creators indicated that those two mutations have been identified in 60-70 per cent of Essential Thrombocythemia and Primary Myelofibrosis cases in Qatar, enhancing the potential impact and commercial viability of the product locally.

The Biomedical Engineering Innovation project is developing a device that can screen for certain cancers in a fraction of the time and less invasively than other technologies or procedures. The device can quickly differentiate between healthy and cancer cells and is expected to enhance early detection specifically for breast cancer, colon cancer, brain tumours and childhood cancers. It is estimated that the technology has the potential to increase the effectiveness of certain treatments by a factor of five and the potential to reduce costs by fifteen-fold.

In the energy sector, Alyal Power aims to deliver a Hydraulic Energy Storage System or battery that can efficiently store energy, from a variety of sources, for use later on. Engine Games is creating an instructional video game to help undergraduate engineering students understand the fundamentals of a combustion engine in an engaging and educational way. Similarly, TurboAero, one of the winning projects announced today by QSTP, is working to refine and redesign a turboprop engine used by light aircraft. Trackers, which also benefits from QSTP’s expertise, is a software solution to help crime fighters rapidly identify and analyse shoe prints at a live crime scene.

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The iFacility project, which holds promise for Qatar’s and the region’s booming facilities manage sector, is investigating how Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology can improve building construction management, asset management and emergency management. The eighth and final project unveiled today aims to develop green building infrastructure capable of actively reducing energy consumption. A QSTP selection committee evaluated the projects for their business potential, innovative approach and feasibility. All teams were interviewed by the committee, which factored team strength into the anticipated success of each venture. The winners will be the first to benefit from the special 3-month programme.

This cycle of the programme also includes three projects from a recent QSTP Hackathon – an innovative, structured problem-solving session where teams worked together to create solutions addressing challenges or filling market gaps. These projects include: Qatar Robotics Institute for Development (QRID), which developed a low-cost robotic hand prototype with an application in upper limb prosthesis; Thinkerbox, a digital publishing platform for newspapers; and Fat Stat On Demand (FSOD), a body fat measurements on demand and on the go.

Managing Director of QSTP, Hamad Al-Kuwari, said: “In our next phase of development, Qatar Science & Technology Park is doubling its commitment to identifying late-stage research and strategic technologies that arise from the country’s world-class research cycle thus supporting those ideas with the best resources in the region.” “Today’s announcement ushers in a new era for QSTP as we continue to build a competitive technology innovation ecosystem in Qatar, where larger multinational enterprise champions work alongside innovators to develop home-grown technology-based businesses that will thrive in the market.”

Each team will emerge from the programme with a carefully crafted, competitive business strategy and the option of creating a venture as an SME tenant on QSTP’s campus, pursuing funding, or developing the business independently.

Follow @QSTP on Twitter for more. 

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